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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Animation > TV > Superman/Batman – Public Enemies (Warner Blu-ray) + Ruby-Spears: Superman + Plastic Man – The Complete Collection (DC Comics/Ruby Spears/Warner DVDs)

Superman/Batman – Public Enemies (Warner Blu-ray) + Ruby-Spears: Superman + Plastic Man – The Complete Collection (DC Comics/Ruby Spears/Warner DVDs)


Picture: A-/C+/C+     Sound: B+/C+/C+     Extras: B+/C+/C+     Film/Episodes: B/C+/C+



Superman/Batman – Public Enemies (Blu-ray)


Having been previously on this site on DVD, I will not reiterate the plot synopsis and rather discuss the Blu-ray itself.  To take a look at the wonderful DVD release review, please follow the link below:





I was wary about the somewhat new and odd animation styling of Superman Batman – Public Enemies when I first saw previews for the straight to video venture; but after viewing the Blu-ray I quite enjoyed the animation.  The story was just ‘ok,’ as it was nothing groundbreaking, but far from bad.  I think that the story and characters were lacking necessary emotion and the events of the feature seemed a tad rushed, to the point of distracting from the original premise.  Whereas in an overall sense I felt the film was excellent, individual events could have been given more attention to develop the plot rather than merely throwing enemy, after enemy at the crime fighting team-up.


I would say this is a must have for any DC comic fan as the superhero crew creating these straight to video releases seems to finally be getting a hold of how things should be done.  I expect the nest release to be even better.


The technical features on the Blu-ray are outstanding.  The picture is presented in a 1080P High Definition VC-1 encoded, 1.78 X 1 widescreen that boasts vivid colors, extreme clarity and an overall wonderfully diverse image.  To date this is a stand out Blu-ray animated comic book feature.  The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track that is not perfect but is very nice.  I would have liked more range and directionality on the action sequences, but the dialogue is crisp and only needs minor adjustments.


The extras on this Blu-ray include over 3 hours of bonus features; including A Test of Minds: Superman and Batman in which the viewer can explore the dynamics of the evolving relationship between two classic superhero entities; Dinner with DCU and Special Guest Kevin Conroy – Extended Version: The Voice of Batman Shares a Meal and Talks with DC Universe Creative Team; Exclusive Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Upcoming Justice League Crisis of Two Earths; Behind the Scenes of Blackest Night, the Epic DC Comics Super Hero event in which the Dead Shall Rise; Bruce Timm presents 6 Bonus Cartoons; Explore 4 other DC Universe Animated Movies.  My favorite segment was the dinner with Conroy, Timm, Romano and Noveck as they discuss the ins and outs of Batman the Animated Series in terms of how it developed and impacted all the DC Universe features to come; quite interesting as they casually give information and trivia you will find no where else.  The cartoons included on this set are merely some already released Justice League episodes that feature some crossover segments.


I once again must say this is a brilliant release that any fan would be more than lucky to own; especially on Blu-ray.


Ruby-Spears: Superman


We have now featured Superman DVD and Blu-ray releases dozens of times on this site and no matter how many times I view the iconic hero, I am surprised how different each incarnation truly is.  Ruby-Spears Superman is composed of 13 unique episodes that each contains two heroic tales.


Each episode starts with the classic 1978 John Williams Superman score and the 1950’s Superman television series voice over; truly catering to every long time fans dreams for the man of steel.  Each week Superman would seemingly battle a new nemesis; on four occasions that nemesis being Lex Luthor, now revamped to be a viscously evil businessman, rather than the mad scientist of yesteryear.


The voice acting is amazingly well done as all the Superman classic characters surface; including Superman (Beau Weaver) himself, Lois Lane (Ginny McSwain), Jimmy Olsen and many more.  The series is amazingly detailed and combines many facets of Superman lore; giving the series depth and excitement for any true fan.  Whereas the series is amazingly detailed on some fronts, it failed to grasp the concept of a continuous story arch as each episode is mostly independent, merely featuring a “battle of the week” mentality.  With that said if the baddy that episode was a drag, it in turn ruined that episode; there were no extra plot twists revealed and the episode was a loss.


All in all I would have to call this series very well done as compared to the many other prior Superman incarnations that were mostly hokey and only memorably bad.  This series took the character of Superman and reestablished his superhero status, while paving way for later series like Superman the Animated Series and the above reviewed Superman Batman: Public Enemies.


The picture, sound and extras on the DVD set are very basic and slide by as adequate.  The picture is your standard 1.33 X 1 full screen presentation that looks better than the previously released Superfriends sets, but the quality still bounces all around as the colors are vibrant at some points and not at others; as well as there being noticeable print damage in some episodes.  The audio is Dolby Digital Mono track that is simple at best, remaining clean and clear throughout without being anything thrilling.


The DVD extras only house a single 12minute featurette entitled Corporation of the Corrupt: The Rise of Lexcorp, which goes through a series of interviews to discuss the rise and evolution of the Lex Luthor character.  Many animators and experts chime in to give some insight to the characters development.


The Ruby Spears Superman is an exciting addition to any superhero collection and a nice set for fans young or old.


Plastic Man – The Complete Collection


The Ruby Spears Plastic Man ran from 1979-1981 and was distinguished from other superhero series by its unique brand of comedy.  Whereas other superhero series of the time mostly took themselves seriously with brief comic interludes (often ending up quite campy), Plastic Man greatly accepted comedy and used it as a structural element.


To be honest, what the Plastic Man series lacked in depth it made up for in heart.  I am a bit young to have viewed the series in its original airing, but I fondly remember catching reruns of the elastic hero throughout the 80’s.  Plastic Man has faired well over the years, because unlike the many Superfriends incarnations (as mentioned above) it had fun without worrying about destroying the characters street cred.  The visual gags were a hallmark of the series and throughout the 35 episode run Plastic Man found himself in a variety of situations that allowed the creators to bend and twist him as they pleased.


The one complaint about the series is the lack of a “larger universe.”  Plastic Man was for all intents and purposes meant to be a fun series and whereas today we expect every heroic episode to be interlinked, with Plastic Man no such actions were taken to maintain continuity.  Each week, Plastic Man would smash a new baddy, whether it be Solex, Half-Ape, Disco Mummy or some other ridiculous villain; never considering back story or how he got to that point.


Sure the jokes are lame and the animation falls in line with other hokey Hanna-Barbera series; but I honestly think the creators were just having fun here.  With the Complete Plastic Man series now available on DVD there is no excuse to not enjoy this often forgotten superhero’s many adventures.


The picture and sound on this set are adequate at best, like other Ruby Spears releases.  The picture is presented in a simple full screen that does not demonstrate the most vivid colors and has a bit of grain; in the end suffering the same fate as many other superhero series.  All in all a remastering of the series is needed.  The audio is a Dolby Digital Mono track that gets the job done, but is far from thrilling as the dialogue is just ok and the music drags; I would have to call it bland overall.


The extras include “Stretch Your Plastic Man Knowledge with Plas-tastic Retrospective Featurette;” “Enjoy Mindbending Plastic Man Animated Series Unaired Pilot Episode.”  The extras are merely fillers though I am happy they included something as I am sure coming up with bonus material on such a “forgotten” series is difficult.  The unaired Pilot episode is not from the 1979 version, but rather the 2006 attempted reboot that was a tad darker and was very entertaining.


For superhero fans this is a must have and that is no stretch.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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